When determining how to file for divorce, the best option is to work directly with a specialized divorce attorney. As an experienced family lawyer, Yvonne Rizzo and her team will guide you on how to file for a divorce, the mediation process, custody issues, and more. Keep in mind that before filing for divorce, you’ll need to check the residency requirements in your county. For example, San Diego County requires three months residency within the county, as well as six months of residency in the state of California. There may also be special considerations in the case that you are moving, deploying for a military assignment, or filing for divorce in matters of domestic violence. You can book a complimentary consultation or review our Resources page for helpful information. Here’s an overview of how to file a divorce, and other considerations you’ll need to account for:
Step One: Choose a Divorce Attorney
Find a family law attorney with several years of experience handling divorce cases. If possible, choose a divorce attorney with deep knowledge of the family law codes in your county and state. Look for a lawyer with demonstrated success in complex divorce cases, experience navigating custody issues, and in-depth knowledge of support and alimony. Your attorney will explain how to file for divorce, help you with the required documentation, handle mediations, and represent you in a court of law. The right attorney is essential to ensuring that your divorce filing is accurate and serves your unique needs.
Step Two: Filing the Petition
The next step in how to file for divorce includes completing a petition with the local court. The petition includes many of the details of you divorce request, including:
- Claims to property
- Custody requests for minor children
- Spousal support requests
- Attorney fee details and requests for funds
- Any other information relevant to the case
Once the petition is filed, it is served to the other party. The receiving part has 30 days to formally respond to the petition.
Step Three: Disclosure of Property
In the state of California, both parties are required to disclose property after filing for divorce. This means that each spouse must state their assets, including:
- Personal property
- Financial assets
- Real estate
A divorce attorney can provide support in the case that you have a pre- or post-marital agreement. Note that division of property laws are different in each state; your divorce attorney can provide detailed guidance on what you are required to disclose during this process.
Step Four: Receive Temporary Orders
In the case that child support, child custody, or spousal support are required, the court may make a temporary order on those matters. The temporary orders may be updated upon further mediation or court hearings.
Step Five: Mediations & Negotiations
Depending upon how long you have been married, how many assets you have, and if any children are involved, the mediation or negotiation process may require a substantial amount of time. In the case of child custody, a mediation process is required by the state. During the mediation, a counselor will hear from both parties. Following mediation, you may receive an initial recommendation on custody and visitation. The mediator will prepare and file this recommendation before the official court hearing. An experienced family law attorney can help expedite this process. Read more about Child Custody or book a consultation with our team to discuss your case.
Step Six: Trial or Court Hearings
In the case that child custody issues, spousal support, or division of property needs further rulings, your divorce case may require one or more court hearings. At this point, it is crucial to invoke the support of your family law attorney to ensure you are represented according to your needs. Read more about the San Diego Court System here.
Each divorce case is unique. If your situation involves child custody, alimony, or domestic violence issues, choose a divorce attorney that can help you navigate these complex areas of law. Here are additional considerations you should factor into how to file for divorce:
Requesting a Standard Dissolution
You may be wondering how to file for divorce and request a standard dissolution. A standard dissolution is commonly used to provide a basic guideline for child custody, visitation, support, property, and more. Your divorce attorney can advise if this procedure is appropriate for your case.
Divorce Lawyer Attorney Fees
In the state of California, both parties within a divorce shall have equal access to legal representation. This means that one spouse may be required to pay the attorney fees of the other. Communal funds, like joint bank accounts, may also be used to pay attorney fees. Read more about attorney fees on our blog or book a consultation with our team to learn more.
Child Custody Law in San Diego
In the State of California, every child custody case begins with a mandatory mediation at Family Court Services prior to the court hearing. During the mediation, a counselor will hear from both parties and make a recommendation. In California, joint custody is a common solution, but any rulings will focus on the best interest of the child. The mediator will prepare and file this recommendation before the official court hearing.
About Yvonne Rizzo Esq
Yvonne Rizzo is an experienced divorce lawyer in San Diego. She has worked with hundreds of families to file for divorce, negotiate custody, and determine support terms. Prior to opening her private practice, Ms. Rizzo worked as a Deputy City Attorney in the Domestic Violence Unit for San Diego County. She also worked as a civil litigator in Los Angeles. Her licenses include:
- State Bar of California
- United States District Court for the Central District of California
- United States District Court for the Southern District of California
- United States District Court for the Northern District of California
- United States District Court for the Eastern District of California
- State Bar of New York
For more information about fees, scheduling, and services, contact the office of Yvonne Rizzo here.